November 21, 2005

Penultimate Ultimate

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Check your local listings

According to the web site, my second appearance on Ultimate Poker Challenge will air this week. Hoyt Corkins will dissect my play. Once again I don't play many hands, but the third episode should be more rewarding.

November 20, 2005

Bally's Bustout: $1570 Six-Handed NLHE at Bally's Las Vegas

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Fifteen Outs

I decided to warm up for tomorrow's WSOP Circuit main event with a fun $1500+$70 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold 'Em tournament at Bally's. There were a healthy 124 entrants for this non-televised event. I drew table six, seat one. There were a few guys I recognized but no big TV pros at my table. On the fifth hand it was my big blind and I called a 75 raise with Five-Four of Hearts. We saw the flop heads up: Jack-Eight-Deuce with two Hearts. I checked and he bet 300 into the 250 pot. I called with my flush draw. The turn brought an offsuit Six, giving me a double gutshot along with the flush draw. I checked and he bet 700. I decided to move in, being a little worse than a 2-1 dog if called by a pair and winning 1550 if he folded. He immediately called with Queen-Jack. I didn't hit my 15 outs and I was out of the contest.


Dinner was at the spectacular Alex restaurant at Wynn. We had the sommelier's tasting menu with vintage wine pairings, which was superb. I got a good night's sleep in preparation for the main event tomorrow.


November 18, 2005

Shana Sighting

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Hostess with the mostest

Since season three of the World Poker Tour is still in reruns, chances are few but me are experiencing Shana Hiatt withdrawal yet. If you are, watch for her cameo in Must Love Dogs, otherwise notable only as John Cusack's 100th boy-meets-girl formula movie.

November 17, 2005

Agony of the Pequots: 2005 Foxwoods WPT Main Event

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Horseradish ice cream

For the second year I booked a suite at Mohegan Sun, on the whole a far nicer hotel than the smoky Foxwoods and only eight miles away but with no poker room. I had planned to play in the super satellite the day before the main event but the line was so long I decided to skip it and just bought in. I was assigned day two of the split field of 783 and drew table 11, seat eight. The only big name at my table was Dewey Tomko, who played very tight in the early going so I didn't mind having him at my table. There were a couple decent players at the table, two calling stations, and several blindly aggressive players. The mixture made it difficult to dominate the table and I contented myself with chopping out small pots, chipping up from my starting 10,000 to 16,300 by the end of level two.


After that, though, I had no luck. All my bluffs got raised and when I made a hand I got no action. I ended up getting my last 2000 in with King-Queen of Spades against Ace-Nine offsuit and lost the coinflip. There were about 250 left in day two so I called it 500th place or so.


Surprisingly, almost all my smart friends were also out early. The highlight of the trip was two dinners at Todd "Olives" English's Mohegan Sun restaurant, Tuscany, with Matt "Jacksup" Matros, Chris "21 Outs Twice" Fargis, Mark Gregorich, and Steve "Brec" Brecher. Other than the tuna tartare being topped with an outrageous chilled wasabi crema – essentially horseradish ice cream – the food was superb, especially the porterhouse. We washed it down with several bottles of 2003 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel.


I flew back to Seattle for a brief stop before the upcoming Vegas events at Paris and the Plaza.

November 7, 2005

Room with a View: 2005 WPT Doyle Brunson Championship at Bellagio

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Poker Kitty

I had skipped the tournaments at the Taj and Borgata due to my new "No New Jersey" policy and was raring to play in the next World Poker Tour event at Bellagio. I busted out of the super-satellite in five minutes when my Queens were cracked by Five-Four suited flopping two pair so I had to shell out $10,200 for the entry fee.

I was delighted to see the tournament area had been moved from the smoky casino floor into the beautiful Fontana room with a great view of Lake Bellagio. There were 420 starters and I drew table 44, seat four. Chinese would be unhappy with the draw because four was an unlucky number for them but I was happy as a clam with the seat, right by the terrace door, because I could watch the fountain show as I played.

On my left in seat five was Alex Brenes, winner of this year's WPT invitational. In seat nine was Derek Tomko; in seat 10 was Kathy "Poker Kat" Liebert, whom I always called "Poker Kitty," which delighted her no end. In seat one was seasoned pro Billy Duarte. In seat two was a stubborn aggressive player with an unusual style who busted early and was replaced by the very aggressive Daniel Alaei, and on my right in seat three was another aggressive player named Sam. I lost a couple small clashes with the aggressive players on my right and was down to 16,300 from my starting 20,000 chips at the end of level one.

I fought back in level two to 24,400, then in level three, with the blinds at 100/200 with a 25 ante, five players limped in front of me and I made a nice steal-looking raise on the button with pocket Aces. I got two callers and the flop came Eight-Four-Deuce rainbow. It checked to me and I made a decent bet. The first caller folded but Sam on my right immediately check-raised me all in. I wasn't laying down Aces to this guy so I called pretty quickly. He turned over King-Eight of Spades, didn't improve, and I was up to 45,500. I had a nice 42,150 at the end of level three.

With the blinds up to 200/400 with a 50 ante, I struggled in level four and my stack dwindled to 27,100. With one more level to play before we broke for the day, it was time to gamble and I busted Derek Tomko with pocket Jacks versus his Ace-King of Hearts. I finished the day with 31,675 and invited Poker Kitty and "Gentleman" Bill Edler to dinner at the Luxor Steakhouse, where we chowed down on fine Vegas steaks and washed them down with the Stag's Leap Cabernet.


My draw for day two was one table back but still with the great view: 45 – five. On my left was Jan Sorensen, who had just won a WSOP bracelet in Seven-Card Stud. Layne "Back to Back" Flack had seat one and Alan Smurfit was on my right in seat four. I went card dead and with Alan re-smurfing every time anyone to his right smurfed, I just got blinded off. I was down to 18,600 at the end of level six.

With the blinds at 400-800 with a 75 ante, TJ Cloutier came into seat seven. Then Layne, who had been forced to behave by the aggressive players between us, raised and Alan Smurfit called. I found Ace-Queen of Diamonds, which was the nuts as far as I was concerned, and moved in. Layne folded but Alan smurfed with pocket Fours. I hit my Ace but he made a Spade smurf on the river to send me home in 151st place.

Next stop: Foxwoods.